I am not a professional climber, nor a fan of hiking mountains. It was only through hasty planning that the two of us (Sandra and I) decided to hike Makiling. Abrupt as it may seem, this experience proved to be one of the best I had in my life. Until now, whenever I take a look at Mount Makiling, I cannot bear to imagine how the two of us conquered the mountain without even preparing ourselves prior to the hike. And so, the story goes…
We were early when we reached the registration area. The people manning the entrance are all friendly, and they will certainly give you some tips on hiking mount makiling. What to do, what not to do, and more.They told us that following our guide is of utmost importance during the hike, and that neglecting his instructions could lead to an accident. Being a beginner in this field, I absorbed all the tips they gave me, and did my best to remember it throughout the hike. After about 15 minutes of chatting, the guide arrived.
The man leading the way is our guide. His name is Edmund. Young as he may seem (he’s just 18), he is already a veteran when it comes to climbing Mount Makiling.
As we went closer to the mountain, the road becomes Narrower, allowing thick vegetation to take over.
The mount makiling trail has a total of 30 stations. Each station is indefinitely spaced from the other. Meaning, the distance from one station to the other varies. The normal hiking time according to Edmund is around 4 to 5 hours in order to reach the summit. We reached station 1 after a half an hour of walking.
At some point after station 1, we encountered a truly refreshing stream of mountain water. The cold, gushing water of the stream encouraged us to dive right in. We resisted the tempting offer for now. We had to continue with the hike if we wanted to finish it within 4 hours.
Hiking the mountain is no easy task. There are a number of obstacles that would certainly stretch out your muscles. There is even a part in the hike that you would do a little bit of rappelling. The slope is not that steep though, but it would definitely give you that feel of adventure.
One thing memorable about the makiling hike: LEECHES. It’s everywhere. After station number one, watch out for those slimy creatures. They will literally suck the life out of you. A good spray of alcohol over its body will do the trick and force it to detach from your skin. Be sure to check your body for leeches every 5 minutes or so.
After a couple of hour’s worth of hiking, we finally reached a good spot for taking pictures. It’s a real compensation from all the hiking we’ve been doing.
We were only a couple of stations away from the summit when the weather suddenly became gloomy. Rain started to pour down, and the wind became more violent. Cautious about the rapidly changing weather, we consulted our guide whether or not we should continue the hike. He told us that continuing the hike at the occuring circumstances would be dangerous. It would be wiser to turn back for now. We followed him and made no arguments. It may be disappointing, but I cannot risk our lives. There are many more chances to come back afterall.
To make up for the almost-reaching-the-summit experience, we were more than glad to spend the rest of the afternoon at the stream of water near station number 1. There, we ate our packed lunch as well. The best part? The stream is fresh, cold, and drinkable. We invited Edmund to join us but he refused. He probably took a bath at this stream a hundred times.
Some tips for those planning to hike in Makiling:
-Make sure to wear long sleeves and pants, the leeches will definitely make a meal out of you otherwise.
-Keep a bottle of alcohol ready, or an atomizer for that matter. Again, for the slimy critters.
-Wear cotton gloves if possible to make gripping branches and bladed grasses an easy task.
-Plug those ears! Edmund told us that there are cases wherein leeches entered a hiker’s ear. Hearing the story is scary enough, what more if it happened to you.
Expenses of Makiling hike:
– 500 pesos (about 10$) for the guide payment (guide is mandatory by the way).
-Additional tip for the guide is optional (make sure to give him a tip, though. Accompanying hikers and making sure they’re safe and sound is difficult.)
-140 pesos (1.41$) bus fare for the two of us. This may vary depending on your location.
How to get there?
Want to go to Makiling? Check it out here.
Not all trips are expected to turn out the way you imagined them to be. Still, a bad day of an adventure is definitely better than a good day at work (for me at least). Plan things out, but always have an alternative if things go the other way around. Only then you will realize that each adventure is truly remarkable, whether it be a good or a bad one. Happy traveling guys!!